tisdag 12 maj 2009

Climbing the Mountain!

Now I've finally started working on the second Mountain Of Power CD. The plan is for it to be released this fall, and as I'm also working on a new Overdrive and two books at the same time, I'd better get started. Said and done. I have picked out a list of songs I'd like to cover this time around. But, wanting and succeeding are two different things... Like last time I demoed probably 20 tracks, of which 13 were recorded. The ones left out were so because I wasn't happy with my arrangement and felt I couldn't do it the justice I wanted to.

The songs I've demoed so far are:
MAHOGANY RUSH - "Talkin' 'bout a Feeling"
TRIGGER - "Deadly Weapon"
UFO - "This Kids/Rasons Love" - a two-in-one combo
TRAPEZE - "Monkey" (this one's for Mel Galley, who even picked it for me)

Next up are:
MAX WEBSTER - Here I'm not sure... I'm trying out both "Oh War" and "Here Among The Cats"
ZZ TOP - "Bedroom Thang"
SAMMY HAGAR - "Urban Guerilla"
DIAMOND REO - "It's A Jungle Out There" or "Power"
and some more contestants:
PAT TRAVERS - "Makin' Magic"
THUNDERMUG - "Hard Luck"
SCORPIONS - "Drifting Sun"
We'll see what happens.

If all goes as planned I will have some really cool guests on this one!! Some have already agreed, but before everything is settled and finished I don't want to say anything.

Currently listening to:
SUFFRAJETT - "Black Glitter" - Great female fronted Danko Jones rock 'n roll!
BLACK SABBATH - "We Sold Our Soul For Rock N Roll" - Great comp!
IMPELLITTERI - "Wicked Maiden"
FIREBIRD - "Grand Union" - Outstanding 70s style hard rock!!

söndag 3 maj 2009

Today's the day!

It took almost two years to get the baby off the ground (if you can get a baby off the ground...). I'm talking about CONSTANCIA! The multi-nation band I'm currently involved in! Geographically spread out in Sweden and Germany, but we still managed to get it together and make it sound like a band. Thanks to the internet and PhotoShop!

It all started one day when Token/Scudiero keyboard player Mikael Rosengren asked me to add some guitar to some songs he had written. I really liked what I heard. It reminded me of the good old pomp rock of the late 70s/early 80s, but with a modern twist. Melodic, a bit progressive and alightly aggressive... "melogressive", I thought! New genre - tadaa! Well, I started arranging and recording guitars and got more and more into the songs, helped out with some lyrics and did some re-arrangements. Now, programmed drums suck. I talked to my friend Peter "TrumPeter" Svensson, once a member of my bands Overheat and Locomotive Breath, plus he played the majority of the drums on the Mountain of Power CD (a new one in progress, but I'll get to that later). Mikael came to think of Jaded Heart bassist Michael Mueller and asked him if he was into it, which he was. We tried out some different singers, but after one test round with Andromeda vocalist David Fremberg (who had also conributed to my MoP disc) we figured he was the one.

Now started a year of demoing, recording, sending files, re-recording etc. At first we finished five tracks "Shadows", "Save Me", "Wish I Could Fly", "I Never Said Goodbye" and "King Is Calling". These were quite roughly recorded, all guitars done with a Pod XT, I recorded some bass and one song even had programmed drums. We tried different producers, taking on one track each;
Beau Hill - killer 80s producer who had worked with Europe, Airborne etc etc)
Pontus Norgren - Sound engineer/producer who has worked with Thin Lizzy, Talisman etc
Pontus Lindmark - Roasting House producer; bands like Cloudscape, Planet Alliance etc
Pelle Saether - Studio Underground founder whom I have worked with on Locomotive Breath, MoP etc.
Johan Blomström - Local knob wizz who mixed the latest Overdrive album

We of course also had to find a label! We sent out demos and received some great interest from a couple of labels, but they all wanted a finished CD to consider. We figured, ok, let's finish it and shop it around. However we had not even finished the recording when Italian label Frontiers made us an offer we just couldn't refuse. Some quite smooth negotiations later we had inked the deal.

Now we started considering who should mix the album. At this stage, as a late contestant, Mikael came to think of Fredrik Folkare, his former Scudiero guitar colleague who has produced bands like Eclipse, Unleashed and Siebenbürgen. He did a test mix and we bought it! It had all the elements we wanted - the heaviness, the fat sound and the ambience.
We now started re-recording all the basic tracks. Mikael had already recorded most of the keyboards to a click track and programmed drums, so Peter did the drums on top of this. I now re-recorded the guitars using my Hughes & Kettner Trilogy amp (miked up with an SM57 and a big membrane mike), Mueller recorded his bass in Germany with Michael Voss and David recorded the vocals in his own studio and at a local studio in Malmö.
It the came down to me to collect all the tracks, merge it all together and make it work. After getting all the vocals, keyboards, bass, drums and rhythm guitars in, I actually re-recorded some guitar parts as I had got some new ideas, especially since the vocals came in, but also I wanted to enhance some drum/bass riffs. I then added the guitar solos, all except one which I actually kept from the demos (not saying which one :-).
I then bounched down all the tracks, burned them onto a couple of DVD records and sent the stuff to Fredrik with some instructions and "wishes". It was an impatient wait until we received the first couple of tracks a few weeks later. I was quite stunned! He had actually exceeded my expectations. Besides getting a fat, big and great sound, he had added his own twist on several spots, which finally made us state him as co-producer, because that's what he did!
The mastering was made by Dennis Ward (PC 69), recommeded by Frontiers, and he did and awesome job giving the album that final push!
Now we also needed to come up with which track to use as a Japanese bonus track, and of course, the track order... At this point I felt I was way too "involved" to be unbiased so we let the label decide. The track "Wasted" will be the Japanese bonus track.

During the mixing period we also started thinking about the whole artwork thing. I had a couple of ideas which I made drafts of, and at the same time David came up with a great looking logo, which corresponded nicely to one of my ideas. The cover depics an old world map, a log book and a comapass. The title is "Lost And Gone", where the lyrics are really about the internet and getting lost there, but I though the world map, compass etc would serve as a nice metaphor. I also made a slightly different version for the Japanese release, adding a twist to the front cover (not telling what).
Before this we also had to take some band pics. Well, the geographical difference actually cause a slight problem, but we solved it. Three of us went into a studio, took pics prentending the other two were there. We sent them the pics, they had their pics taken with our "band pic" serving as a template (they used the same background, light setting, posing etc). Then David did his PhotoShop magic and here we are!
Today Frontiers will go public with signing us and that "Lost And Gone" will be released in Europe on July 3, in the US in August and Japan later on. We have also opened our (temporary) sites http://www.lostandgone.com/ and http://www.constancia.se/
Check it out!!

Listening to:
RICK DERRINGER - Knighted By The Blues
ROADSTAR - Grand Hotel